Two little musings on irony …

There are a handful of titles that simply never abandon my desk – The Collected Poems: 1945–1990 of R.S. Thomas*, and Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison, and The Book of Common Prayer, for example. And Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings. (I’m currently awaiting my copy of Roger Lipsey’s substantial biography (752 pages!) to arrive. I was in Cambridge last week and heard Rowan Williams giving a talk about it. ‘nough said.) While Markings was significantly more popular with a generation older that mine than it is with my own (perhaps Lipsey’s book might change that for some?), I have lived with Markings now for almost two decades. And even though it’s not part of my daily diet, this morning I ‘took up and read’ again a few of the opening pages (which is more than enough with this book), and these words spent some time with me:

Tomorrow we shall meet,
Death and I –.
And he shall thrust his sword
Into one who is wide awake.

I’ll not post here my musings on these words, but the irony gestured to here reminded me of something else I saw in Cambridge and which spoke to me of the ironies of life, and of the playfulness of such. Here ’tis:

2013-03-14 09.41.40 (1)

* I just noticed that there are plans for the publication of some of Thomas’ Uncollected Poems due out mid year. This is very exciting.


  1. Thanks for the note about the books on your desk. There’s a chapter on R.S. Thomas in my book Acquainted with the Night, the Shadow of Death in Contemporary Poetry.


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